‘Holiday-like’ vacation plans by Soma mine disaster commission triggers reaction

‘Holiday-like’ vacation plans by Soma mine disaster commission triggers reaction

‘Holiday-like’ vacation plans by Soma mine disaster commission triggers reaction

Members of the inquiry commission into the Soma mine disaster eat with workers inside a gallery at a mine in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, June 27. AA Photo

A request to visit mines in the U.S. and Australia by the parliamentary commission investigating the Soma mine disaster has triggered a reaction from one opposition deputy, who alleges that it is a “vacation” request, daily Milliyet has reported.

Sixteen members from all political parties undersigned the offer for the trips abroad, with only the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Özgür Özel opposing the trips, according to the report.

Özel, a CHP deputy from the Aegean province of Manisa where the district of Soma is located, has been under the spotlight since the disaster as he has strongly defended the rights of the miners by pushing for a probe into the incident. He submitted a motion to Parliament last year to investigate work-related accidents at coal mines in Soma, but it was rejected by members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) two weeks prior to the disaster.

Özel reacted against the latest demand, stating that deputies should cover their own expenses in such situations. However, other members of the commission, including three of Özel’s fellow CHP deputies, decided that inspections in countries with a good record in mining safety would be beneficial for Turkey.

The decision triggered a reaction by Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek and CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who claimed the expenses for the trips were too high, daily Milliyet reported.

Nevertheless, the offer was approved at Parliament on July 15, on the condition that Çiçek would determine the length of stay and the number of MPs who will be sent to each country.

Kılıçdaroğlu called on CHP deputies not to join the trips, saying that sending technical officials would be more satisfactory. “[The] holiday-like vacation does not fit with the nature of the commission,” he reportedly said.